OIL and gas engineering firms have raised the prospect of developing a floating port in the Firth of Forth as part of a drive to win work in the growing North Sea decommissioning market.

The idea has been suggested by the newly-formed Forth and Tay Decommissioning alliance. The body aims to support efforts to position Dundee as a centre for handling infrastructure that will be removed from the North Sea as fields run dry.

The alliance said it aims to create the framework for a sustainable, profitable and low- cost decommissioning industry in Dundee. It has engaged experts to assess the viability of the creation of a floating deep water quayside in the Firth of Forth, which would not be connected to the land.

Charles Hammond, chief executive of alliance member Forth Ports, said: “The proximity to the skills base in Dundee, along with unrivaled land space and heavy lift quayside, makes Dundee the logical choice for large scale decommissioning in Scotland.”

He added: “The study into a virtual deep water quay will ensure that we take advantage of the deep water in the Forth to accommodate the largest of decom projects.”

The alliance has not identified a location for the quay or an operator for the facility. Its members include the ABB technology group, the John Lawrie metals business and Well-Safe Solutions.